About a month after COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in the United States, it is still impossible for the public and the media to track the rollout of vaccines in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term-care facilities (LTCF) in most states, said a latest report of The COVID Tracking Project.
In most states, the details of vaccine rollouts across the country’s LTCF remain “closely guarded,” according to the report.
The vaccine rollout in the United States has drawn great public attention since it started on Dec. 14 last year.
Health experts and officials have blamed states for slow vaccine rollout. The country planned to inject 20 million Americans by the end of 2020.
However, only about 12.28 million total doses have been administered as of Jan. 15, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the meantime, the lack of vaccine distribution data in LTCF raises public concern. “For the last month, the public has had minimal visibility into the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines to long-term-care facilities,” said The COVID Tracking Project in the report.
Last week, South Carolina published the names of nursing homes and other LTCF where residents and staff have been vaccinated. States and the CDC should follow suit, said the report.
“This is the first facility-level vaccination data we’ve seen from a U.S. state, and it’s a crucial step in transparency around vaccine distribution to these most vulnerable populations,” said the report.
U.S. LTCF population has been hit hard by the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the tracking project, less than 1 percent of U.S. residents live in LTCF, but deaths among LTCF staff and residents make up at least 37 percent of the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths.
As of Jan. 7, more than 133,000 COVID-19 deaths were reported among LTCF residents and staff, according to the tracking project.
In early December, the CDC recommended a phased distribution list for early COVID-19 vaccines, with healthcare personnel and LTCF residents in Phase 1a of the vaccination program, and then Phase 1b which includes those aged 75 years and older and frontline essential workers.
Phase 1c includes persons aged 65 to 74 years and aged 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b.The United States started to administer the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to LTCF population on Dec. 28.